by Treena Thibodeau
Zenobia thinks we should get a dog.
I don’t want a dog, I say. Who’s going to take care of a dog?
We both will, she says. My whole life I wanted a dog and no one ever let me get one. Come on, Tuck, it’ll make me happy.
Magic words: a way to make Zenobia happy. Something that will turn her toward me like the tumblers of a lock. We’re on the couch, and even after I let her pick the show and make her the popcorn she likes (coconut oil, freshly grated parmesan cheese, Zenobia frowning at the mess of the pot as if someone threw it sticky and smoking through our window. She loves messy things, like cheese popcorn and dogs, and hates mess), she still is not looking at the television but rather at an empty stretch of wall. I keep checking to see if there’s something crawling there. It’s unsettling.